You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2008.
Mighty purty, init? One of the last great mysteries of our home planet. As of yesterday, a mystery no more! The noble and hardworking folk of NASA have cracked the mysery of the northern lights: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07//25science/space/25aurora.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Super Furry Animals – Northern Lites | download
(Yes, I know it’s the wrong spelling of ‘lights’. What can you expect from a Welsh band, though? We’re talking about a people who think every word ought have three silent Ls.)
Anyone have some 3D glasses still kicking around?
Thankfully, NASA has some simple instructions on making your own pair:
Attention all Joss Whedon (Firefly, Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) addicts! He’s finished a new film – Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog – and the first installment is now available online. I normally don’t go for musicals (The Producers pissed me off, and the ten minutes Sacha Baron Cohen was onscreen in Sweeney Todd didn’t come remotely close to saving that film) but Whedon seems to be able to make anything work.
As Whedon describes it, “It’s the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.”
Dr. Horrible is being released in three acts, the whole thing being 42 minutes long. The next episode is out on the 17th, and then the final video on the 19th. You can watch Dr. Horrible at http://www.drhorrible.com/ or download it via iTunes (unless you’re in stupid Australia, where the iTunes store doesn’t seem to have it available).
Act quickly – it’s available for free until the 20th, then it will disappear, only to reappear later for some sort of nominal fee.
Mmm. Yummy trailery goodness.
Some of you may not be aware that you can turn Google Earth around, pointing it at the skies. With a simple click of the ‘Switch Between Sky and Earth’ button on the toolbar, or the ‘Switch to Sky’ entry in the view menu, Google Earth turns around, giving you the night sky directly above what you’d been viewing.
Containing the same features as Google Earth, the astronomical view lets you navigate the skies, and has plenty of groovy bookmarks and linked images to keep you entertained and informed for hours. See the Google Sky page for more info on what you can uncover.
Google Earth only offers views from Earth, however – the camera can only pan the heavens and zoom in and out. For those with a real hankering to tour the universe, you’ll need to take a look-see at the mindbogglingly detailed (and yet still free!) Celestia.
Celestia is, quite simply, a space simulator that runs on your home PC. Pick a time, place the camera somewhere, and look at practically anything in the known universe. Nebula, stars, galaxies, spacecraft – whatever your fancy, you’ll find it.
Track probes like Voyager 2 in Celestia
However, Celestia requires a bit more work than Google Earth. The interface is more complex (to be expected, given the greater range of freedom to place the camera and shift time) and it requires additional downloads of add-ons to add extra details beyond what’s covered in the meager 22Mb base install. That being said, it’s more than worth the extra effort to place the camera somewhere around the orbit of Callisto, turn the speed up to 4x time, and watch the inner moons of Jupiter traverse the orange giant. The resulting show is nothing short of astounding.
If you’re after information about what’s in the sky, Google Earth’s vast array of bookmarks can’t be missed. Celestia offers no bookmarks, but the views are a thousandfold more interesting.
Quite possibly the best collection of electronic, IDM and experimental music on the planet. The show airs on the Austrlian Broadcasting Corporation’s youth network Triple J every 23:00 on a Sunday, but you can listen to the most recent show by visiting the show’s site. I try not to miss an episode. Ever.
Okay, I’m not quite over the Tycho kick yet.
My dad found a Spanish clown who appears to sing about things for kids. Said Spanish clown happens to be named Tiko Tiko, which is eerily a lot like the Swedish pronunciation of Tycho.
I found a video where he travels through the Solar System in an open-cockpit airplane singing with the planets. Awesome.
He's obviously a better clown than he is an astronomer, as he includes Pluto as a full-fledged planet. Which, we all know, hasn't been the case since 2006.
While young Tycho was incubating, Atomique would dose him regularly with music to stimulate his development. Her preferred rationing was three albums on rotation, delivered via my DJ headphones nestled around his room (which had the unfortunate side effect of stretching said headphones). Beyond whatever developmental benefit he may have accrued, we now have three ‘settling albums’ which we can deploy as high-grade munitions to lull him to a slumber.
As I ramp production back up towards the usual fare of music and things form space, I will take this opportunity to segue into some tunes. Atomique’s weapons of choice for bombarding young Tycho were Hot Chip’s The Warning, LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver and The Presets’ Beams; music from which I provide you now with that you too can use to render your loved ones unconscious.